the lawyer/client relationship

Solicitors' duties to clients

In our legal system, the solicitor/client relationship has long been recognised as a fiduciary relationship. The term ‘fiduciary’ means trust, so in a fiduciary relationship one person (the client) places his or her confidence, good faith, reliance and trust in another (the solicitor), whose aid, advice or protection is sought in some matter.

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What your solicitor must tell you

Solicitors are required by law to inform their clients about how they are going to charge and tell them about their rights. This is called 'disclosure'. Your solicitor must inform you in writing about the costs of the work and the expenses that you have to pay.

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Trust money

Trust money is the money entrusted to a law practice in the course of or in connection with the provision of legal services by the practice. For example, where money is held for the payment of stamp duty during the purchase of property, or received from the proceeds of a court action.

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Other duties of solicitors

In addition to their duties to clients, solicitors have other obligations under the law. As officers of the Court, solicitors must not only obey the law, they also have to ensure the efficient and proper administration of justice.

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How to help your solicitor

You are entitled to high standards of legal advice and representation and your solicitor must act in accordance with a range of legal duties owed to clients. At the same time a successful solicitor/client relationship requires cooperation on both sides. There are various things you can do to help your solicitor.

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Making a complaint

The Law Society has a statutory obligation to maintain and improve the professional standards of the legal profession and to protect the public from inadequate advice and representation. These obligations are fulfilled in various ways – through education, investigation, intervention and support.

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